Automaton iconAutomaton

Heartland Robotics Now Rethink Robotics, Still Developing Mystery Industrial Robot

We still don't know a heck of a lot about what Heartland Robotics is up to out there in its stealthy Boston lair, but we do know a bunch more today than we did yesterday. For starters, Heartland has changed its name to "Rethink Robotics," in order to "better represent the breadth and impact of [its] vision," and the new website and press release helps to refine with that vision actually is.

 

Far be it from us to just quote giant pieces from a press release, but, well, we're just gonna quote giant pieces from the press release because this is more or less as much info as we've got on what Heartland Rethink is planning:

Rethink Robotics is developing a new generation of robots to improve productivity in manufacturing environments. The robots will be intuitive to use, capable of autonomously sensing and adapting to their environment, versatile, and flexible. They’ll be easy to buy, train, and deploy and will be much less expensive than traditional industrial robots.
Rethink Robotics products will reflect the company’s new vision of a much more broadly adopted automation approach that will do for manufacturing workers what the PC did for office workers—increase their productivity by giving them direct access to technological tools.
“Just as businesses had to completely rethink ways to use computers when the PC was first introduced, they will want to take advantage of opportunities created by this new class of robot,” said Rod Brooks, chairman, founder, and CTO of Rethink Robotics. “With our robots, businesses will have the opportunity to rethink manufacturing, rethink automation, and rethink outsourcing.”
Rethink Robotics today announced that it had secured $30 million in Series C financing [bringing its total funding to $57 million]. The funds will be used to launch the company’s new robot product, begin development of new product lines, and expand sales, marketing, and services operations.

We also learned from the press release that the robot will be announced later this year. We're not sure exactly when, but it's definitely going to be before 2013. Stay tuned!

[ Rethink Robotics ] via [ Boston.com ]

 

EPFL Developing Connectors for Modular Floating Robots

This is an artistic rendering of a project that's being developed at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). The Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) is working on a robot (yes, that's totally a robot) made up of soft, floating modules that connect to each other through electroadhesion.

Read More

Video Friday: UAVs Delivering Packages, More Sushi Than You Can Possibly Eat, and RoboCup Outtakes

THIS WEEK: Will robots help a human graffiti the side of a building? Will Northrop Grumman make one of the most overblown UAV promo videos ever? Will a Darwin-OP headbutt a robot that may or may not be Italian in a RoboCup blooper reel? The answer to all of these questions is "why would we be asking if we didn't have all of this stuff queued up and ready to show you," so check out Video Friday after the break.

Read More

Grishin Robotics Has $25 Million to Invest in Robot Startups

Robotics today is like the Internet in the 1990s: Fuel it with the right combination of technology, people, and money, and it will explode into a formidable new industry that will profoundly reshape people’s lives.

That’s the view of Dmitry Grishin [pictured above], a Russian Internet entrepreneur who made his fortune as a co-founder of Mail.Ru Group, one of Russia’s largest tech companies. Now he has his sights set on robots. Grishin is launching today a New York City-based investment company that has $25 million to inject into robotics startups. His goal is to take robotics beyond factories and labs and bring robots to the masses.

Read More

AirBurr MAV Can Now Self-Right, Is Utterly Unstoppable

In October of 2009, we wrote about the very first version of EPFL's AirBurr micro air vehicle, called HoverMouse. It was an innovative design: a roll cage protected the MAV's engine and flight surfaces, enabling it to crash into walls and floors without damage and then take off again, provided it had enough room to get airborne. Seven iterations later, the AirBurr V8 Samurai includes an active self-righting mechanism that allows it to crash and take off again even in rugged and cluttered environments.

Read More

The Uncanny Valley

Translated by Karl F. MacDorman and Norri Kageki


Uncanny Valley Robotics & Automation Magazine CoverA version of this article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of
IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine.

Editor's note: More than 40 years ago, Masahiro Mori, then a robotics professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, wrote an essay on how he envisioned people's reactions to robots that looked and acted almost human. In particular, he hypothesized that a person's response to a humanlike robot would abruptly shift from empathy to revulsion as it approached, but failed to attain, a lifelike appearance. This descent into eeriness is known as the uncanny valley. The essay appeared in an obscure Japanese journal called Energy in 1970, and in subsequent years it received almost no attention. More recently, however, the concept of the uncanny valley has rapidly attracted interest in robotics and other scientific circles as well as in popular culture. Some researchers have explored its implications for human-robot interaction and computer-graphics animation, while others have investigated its biological and social roots. Now interest in the uncanny valley should only intensify, as technology evolves and researchers build robots that look increasingly human. Though copies of Mori's essay have circulated among researchers, a complete version hasn't been widely available. This is the first publication of an English translation that has been authorized and reviewed by Mori. [Read an exclusive interview with him.]


Read More

An Uncanny Mind: Masahiro Mori on the Uncanny Valley and Beyond

Masahiro Mori Uncanny Valley
Masahiro Mori at his home in Tokyo.

In this guest post, Norri Kageki interviews Masahiro Mori, who, as a professor of engineering at Tokyo Institute of Technology in the 1970s, proposed the now-famous concept of the uncanny valley. [Read the first authorized translation of his seminal article here.] Mori's insight was that people would react with revulsion to humanlike robots, whose appearance resembled, but did not quite replicate, that of a real human. He called this phenomenon bukimi no tani (the term "uncanny valley" first appeared in the 1978 book Robots: Fact, Fiction, and Prediction, written by Jasia Reichardt).

Read More

Bosch Introduces New Autonomous Robotic Lawnmower

We got a tip over the weekend that Bosch is introducing (or, has just introduced) what a press release (machine translated from Swedish) calls the "world's first intelligent robot lawn mower," the Bosch Indego. Well, we're not entirely sure about the world's first bit, but from what we can tell, there are definitely some features here that will make the Indego more intelligent than some of its competitors.

Read More
Advertisement

Automaton

IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

Editor
Erico Guizzo
 
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
 
 
Contributor
Jason Falconer
Contributor
Angelica Lim
 

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Automaton newsletter and get biweekly updates about robotics, automation, and AI, all delivered directly to your inbox.

Advertisement
Load More